News State SA News Iraqi students develop robotic technology
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Iraqi students develop robotic technology

Iraqi engineers Laith Al-Shimaysawee and Ali Al-Dabbagh.
ABC
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Two Iraqi men studying at Adelaide’s Flinders University have developed new technology for detecting human life using remote cameras, which could be used during rescue operations.

Laith Al-Shimaysawee and Ali Al-Dabbagh are studying their masters on scholarships through an Iraqi Government initiative that sends students abroad.

They have created a new algorithm for detecting people through thermal and colour cameras that is believed to be faster than any other technology available.

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Current technology requires hundreds of samples to be processed and compared before a person can be detected.

“We developed it so it can use less samples, for example the system that is currently in the world, sometimes they use 500, and some of them use 1000 samples,” Mr Al-Dabbagh said.

“With our system that we developed we use just eight samples.”

Their university supervisor, Nasser Asgari, said fewer samples made detection much faster.

“This is the fastest algorithm that we have come up with, and all the other ones are slower than this and the accuracy of this system is better than what we know of,” Dr Asgari said.

The system has been developed to help with rescue operations, and other high-risk situations.

“You can put it on a robot, or rescue people can carry it with them as a helmet, they can wear it, or they can put it on a dog on a helmet, and they can go to different, difficult scenarios, collapsed building or unstable structures and it can detect people and report back to the rescue,” Dr Asgari said.

“The system will do one scan and say if there’s something there or not and you move to the next one, rather than going everywhere and spending hours and hours just to do that, and that could be the differentiation between life and death really.”

Students hope technology may help Iraqi army

The students will return to Iraq later this year and hope to use their work at Flinders University to help the Iraqi army.

“Nowadays the terrorists, what they do is that they put bombs in the houses and they leave and when the army comes they just open the house and they explode, and they can for example use the robot for this purpose,” Mr Al-Dabbagh said.

Mr Al-Shimaysawee said they want to help their homeland.

“We thought we should try to do something to help our country, and to save the life of people in our country as you know the situation in our country now is not good,” he said.

He said he is extremely grateful to have studied in Australia.

“In Iraq there are a lot of young engineers, they just need an opportunity or support and they can do a lot of things to help Iraq,” he said.

Their work will be published at an international robotics conference in Dubai next month.

The engineers came to Adelaide from their home city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, on a scholarship.

 – ABC

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